Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Juventus v Real Madrid

It could be a tough night in Turin for Ancelotti. It certainly could offer limited nostalgia for the Real Madrid manager as Juventus seek to reach the Champions League Final for the first time since 2003. That night in Old Trafford when Ancelotti’s AC Milan beat them after a penalty shootout and ended the dream of repeating the 1985 and 1996 titles. This time Carlo Ancelotti's homemcoming to Italy sees him without a few key players, albeit the injury list is now improved with the return of Gareth Bale. 

However the absence of Luka Modric and Karim Benzema may still prove very costly.

Clearly the Sergio Ramos midfield experiment may have reached its conclusion in Sevilla on Saturday when his cumbersome tackle gave away a needless penalty just before the half time whistle enraged Ancelotti. But there are no immediate alternatives in the absence of the injured Modric. Leaving Real with a weakness that could be exploited in attack and defence by the gifted Andrea Pirlo. Or indeed Chilean Arturo Vidal.

The away leg will be a moment for Tony Kroos who after the Seville match might hope for better accuracy with his right boot. Given three of this strikes in that La Liga match were miscues. In Turin there will be few chance against the Serie A leaders and so each shot on target will count for much in this vital first leg. His attacking opportunities no doubt to be sacrificed with his main role of subduing Pirlo.

The current goal striking form of Ronaldo suggests that he will be on the score sheet given a half chance. His recent weekend header a sublime touch and coming off the point precision pass of Bale, himself facing his first start in a few weeks. His role against Juventus also to support Chicharrito – who will look to repeat his magic from the quarter-Final return leg a few weeks ago against Atletico Madrid. 

That night he more than filled Benzema’s boots with his work rate. Also delivering that one vital goal from a Ronaldo assist.

Juventus play without the injured Paul Pogba but have the ever able Carlos Tevez available to cause the Madrid back four plenty of problems. A weakness that Simeone never fully exploited in the Bernabeu

But such are the narrow margins that will dictate this battle in Turin no doubt. 

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